Traditional vs. Digital vs. Social

In the past, most people advertised on a limited number of channels: TV, print, radio and billboards. Since then, there was an unprecedented growth of digital media channels and social media,

There are certain pluses and minuses to using traditional, digital or social media channels. A useful criterion to keep in mind is directionality. For example, traditional channels, such as print or ads in business centers are unidirectional: from business to customer. Such communication channels are measured by the number of impressions.

Newer channels, such as interactive billboards or mobile are bi-directional: the consumer has the opportunity to give information back. The metric used here is engagement.

Finally, on social media consumers not only can engage with the company, but they can also start conversations with each other. They interact using the material that is being advertised. Such peer interaction can also be measured to understand its effectiveness.

So it makes sense to choose the media for your messages depending on the type of interaction you are interested in. Many companies choose to start with the broad audience that can be attained with traditional channels. Then they follow up with online ads to get people visit the target website. Finally, short responses can be created to encourage viral sharing and word of mouth.

Different channels also offer different targeting precision. Traditional channels are usually broad but do not allow much customization. Going digital you can have a very narrow targeting for your campaign. Social media provides the greatest precision in terms of targeting customers and their acquaintances.

Depending on your goal, you might want to use a different marketing channel:

  • Creating brand awareness - Television (great reach, consideration)
  • Generating impulse sales - In-store Promotion (stimulates trial)
  • Brand loyalty - Depending on the product, can be social or traditional to encourage repeat purchases.

How do you manage the Communication Process?

  1. Mission: What is the objective of the campaign?
  2. Market: To whom is the communication campaign addressed?
  3. Message: What are the specific elements to be communicated?
  4. Media: Which channels are to be used for the campaign?
  5. Money: How much will be spent on the campaign?
  6. Measurement: How will the results be evaluated after the campaign?

The first two elements are strategic: market and mission of a campaign. It is about outlining the path to attaining the objective in the chosen market. 

The concepts or Media and Message concern execution. It is important to first choose the media and the message and then consider budgeting and evaluation metrics.

The last two aspects are financial: how effectively will the marketing spending pay off.

Finally, it is critical to keep in mind that consumers are not alike in terms of their needs and wants, they often behave irrationally and their behavior is hard to predict. Therefore, a successful marketing campaign requires a consistent control and opmization mechanisms.